Producer Perspective: Implementing
an AI program and the Benefits
FORT COLLINS, COLO. (Dec. 2, 2008) — A panel representing three diverse Colorado cow-calf operations discussed strategies for implementing artificial insemination with attendees of the Robert E. Taylor Memorial Sympoium: Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle. The panelists shared their respective evaluation of benefits, whether applied to the breeding of replacement heifers or mature cows.
Teague Diversified Inc.
Lara Teague described her family’s operation, Teague Diversified Inc., headquartered near Fort Morgan, Colo. Approximately 2,500 cows are managed in Nebraska on two leased ranches, while another 500 head are maintained in Colorado. Also at the Fort Morgan site, Teague Diversified develops and breeds close to 2,500 heifers, both for its own use and for other producers. Teague personnel also provide AI breeding services for up to 5,000 heifers on ranches in Wyoming, Utah and Montana.
Teague said selection of AI sires for breeding heifers emphasizes calving ease and maternal characteristics, including fleshing ability and stayability. “Free” family labor, supplemented with labor provided by graduate students and interns, helps keep labor costs low. A synchronization protocol requiring the least time and labor is used. Strategies are chosen to enhance reproductive performance without jeopardizing efficient use of grazing resources.
Croissant Red Angus
Kevin Miller said proven AI sires are used in his family’s seedstock operation, Croissant Red Angus, located near Briggsdale, Colo. The operation currently manages about 250 females on its 10,000-acre operation.
“I don’t mind spending $1 as long as I get $1.20 back,” said Miller, explaining how AI allows incorporation of superior genetics to produce seedstock and fed cattle with added value.”
Miller called heifers much easier to handle when implementing AI, since they are more easily held in confinement, near working facilities. Cows, on the other hand, have a calf at side, which must be sorted and penned separately while synchronization injections are administered.
Commercial cattleman Carl Hansen, of Livermore, Colo., said his family first adopted AI for breeding replacement heifers. Hansen Ranches is now in its fifth year of breeding about half of the mature cows by AI, targeting a shorter calving season and increased weaning weights.
Hansen buys higher-quality bulls to collect for AI use and turn with cows for natural service as well.
“We are getting more calves born early in the calving season and heavier calves at weaning, but we’re also raising better females,” Hansen explained. “According to our calculations, it costs us about the same to produce a calf through AI as with natural service.”
— by Troy Smith
Click here for Hansen PowerPoint as a pdf file (352 KB).
Click here for Miller PowerPoint as a pdf file (1 MB).
Click here for Teague PowerPoint as a pdf file (2.5 KB).
Click here to listen to the audio (11.4 MB mp3).
Editor’s Note: This article is available as a news release to redistribute per an agreement between the symposium hosts and Angus Productions Inc. Click here to submit a request for a high-resolution photo of the speaker. For additional information visit the newsroom of www.appliedreprostrategies.com.
The Robert E. Taylor Memorial Symposium is conducted by Colorado State University every other year to provide current, research-based information for improving profitability in the beef cattle industry. The ARSBC program was developed by the Beef Cattle Reproduction Task Force to improve understanding and application of reproductive technologies, including AI, estrus synchronization and factors affecting male fertility. In 2008, CSU and the Task Force collaborated to provide the Dec. 2-3 symposium in Fort Collins. To view other presentations from the symposium, visit the newsroom at www.appliedreprostrategies.com.